solaciolum: King of Night Vision, King of Insight (Default)
Time Traveler Extraordinaire

November 2014

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Thursday, August 17th, 2017 03:38 pm
Moby Dick is my favorite American classic. I own two copies of it currently (one fancy pocket version and a big version for highlighting favorite quotes and writing in). I first read it for class in 11th grade and had the incredible privilege of being taught the book by a teacher who genuinely loved it.

<lj-cut text="More thoughts under the cut">

Most people I met who read the book hated it, or at best were indifferent to it. I had to survive reading a book draft where the author wrote about how Moby Dick is a huge waste of time because of false advertising - if you're naming the book after the whale, why do you only meet the whale in the last three chapters? I suppose the latter is a fair complaint if you picked up the book without having any expectations set for it. I was lucky to have Mr Vanderheiden tell us that Moby Dick is a book about everything - a discourse on philosophy, identity, history, religion and a person's place in the world, a description of the whaling industry at the time and the whaling towns that thrived off of it, action...basically everything. Melville wrote this book without fear, changing tone and structure or approach from one chapter to the next, before delivering a punch about...well everything really. We read through each chapter and were treated to a lively and enthusiastic discussion led by Mr Vanderheiden on the meaning of sentences, paragraphs and humankind - from beginning to end. He instilled in us a desire to at least properly read the book. Not everyone loved the book, but thanks to him, they at least were able to respect the book.

I don't reread Moby Dick as often as other books. My attempts usually fall off after the first few chapters before my time is taken up by something else (I'm pretty familiar now with Ishamael's wanderings around New Bedford and his friendship with Queequeg...and less with the voyage itself). Recently though, I discovered the Moby Dick Big Read Project, a podcast put together by Plymouth University in the UK. They call it America's great classic, which is also America's most unread classic, and the 'big read' is an attempt to reverse that. In some ways it's a shame that the book drew such an effort across the Atlantic rather than in its own home, but I'm glad that someone did it.

The Big Read is basically that - a different person reads each chapter of Moby Dick, famous and not. Chapter 1 is read by Tilda Swinton. It's fascinating to hear the book instead of read it, and to hear how different people interpret the words. It provides a hint of what the story means to more people than my lonely self. 

So far I haven't progressed past the chapters I am able to reread anyway hahaha. But it has been a long time since I've attempted a reread and I'm reminded why I like the book so much - Ishmael. Ishmael is so flighty and silly, yet real. Simultaneously a victim of his prejudices but also willing to overcome these with an open heart, he befriends Queequeg when, one can imagine, no one else in North America would. I remember thinking it was so odd that Queequeg became a dedicated friend so quickly, but now with a bit more life in me I suppose, Queequeg had no friends in these European and American whaling ports and Ishmael proved himself very special by putting in the effort to be his friend. Ishmael lives by his own rules, and determines the value of people and actions for himself, not simply by what religion or society dictates. We couldn't have Moby Dick without Ishmael and his wandering mind, freely hopping from thought to thought, from this fact or that. 

I think I love Moby Dick because I'm incredibly fond of Ishmael, and in his rambling and hopping thoughts, and thirst to see more of the world, I recognize a kindred spirit. I hope we have more Ishmaels in this world.

I hope to post more about it as I make progress with the 'big read' but since it's just the beginning, I had to simply express how much I love Ishmael (also I'm tired and I've run out of steam to type haha)
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 02:51 am

There’s a thing readers should understand with this book: we’re not doing business in the normal way. There will be no tie-ins until we get back to Earth. We’re self-contained, telling our own story, beholden to nobody, and we’re on a trip out to the far reaches of Marvel Space, and we’re going to come back changed, and carrying something very special with us. -- Al Ewing

Read more... )
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 10:04 pm
Full letter with prompts to come ASAP. The letter below is incomplete.

Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist,

Thank you so much for writing for me! This is my first time doing FemslashEx, so I'm really excited.

(I only requested art for one fandom; however, if anyone is moved to do an art treat for me in any of them, I would absolutely love that.)

Loves, DNWs, and notes/prompts for my fandoms (Aliens, Carrie, Original Work, Star Trek: Classic Timeline, and X/1999 below cut). Read more... )
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 10:19 pm
I recently went down a rabbit hole about the fabulous, foul-mouthed Thori. and since my dog can also be a yelling arsehole...
i give you the heartwarming story of seven Yule puppies. )
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 05:11 pm

Has anyone ever filmed a scene where a priest blesses his own saliva then gobs in a vampire's eye? -- Si Spurrier

Read more... )
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:15 pm
After The Flintstones, it's perhaps no surprise they are shifting in the other direction temporally, and in giving us, in Novemeber...

The Jetsons )
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 06:26 pm

Continuing Harvey Dent's 75th anniversary is Matt Wagner's 'Faces' from Legends of the Dark Knight #28-30. It's considered by a lot of people to be one of the definitive Two-Face stories. I'm personally on the fence; it's well-written and drawn but Harvey's character and overall motivations are fairly inconsistent with how he's usually depicted. The story might have been served better with a number of other Bat-villains instead. But who knows, you might think differently.  

Scans under the cut... )
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 05:05 pm

I was testing the solar filter for the camera, in preparation for Monday’s eclipse. We won’t be seeing the total eclipse, but I’m hoping to get some good shots of the partial.

As I was processing the results, I realized I’d captured sunspots!  (Those dark spots in the upper left.)

Sun with sunspots

Click to embiggen.

For those who wonder about such things, this was taken on the 100-400mm lens, fully zoomed to 400mm. ISO 640, f/10, with a 1/3200 shutter speed. I had to set everything manually, because the camera overexposed the shot if left to its own devices.

I think next time I’ll try to reduce the ISO down to about 100 and see if that gets rid of the minor graininess.

Processing involved cropping the shot, noise reduction, and an orange overlay.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:17 am
In the beginning, Kara wore a blue frock:


If it looked a bit like a high school cheerleader's outfit (back in the day when cheerleader outfits didn't show much skin and weren't all that tight fitting), that was probably intentional. And this suited her just fine all through high school and most of the way though college. And then, 12 years later, her editors belatedly realized the 60's had brought a sea change in fashion, and things started to get weird. Sartorial madness ensued )

And that is the long and sad story of Kara's closet of super outfits. Maybe someone sensible came along and rescued her from further sartorial shame by stealing all but the hotpants ensemble?

In some cases sadly, in other cases thankfully, we never got to see her wearing some of the other outfits in that closet, but evidence of their existence was preserved:Read more... )
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 10:17 am
Looks like the Nazi scum saw how many people planned to show up to stand up to them in LA, and ran like the cowards they are. Apparently the Venice Nazi rally has been cancelled (but Nazi rallies are still planned in other cities). But it looks like OUR rally is still on, whether the Nazis show up or not.

I will keep updating but if our rally is happening, I'll still be there. I think it's important to show our solidarity and fire. Hey, just talking about showing up chased the Nazis out of LA before they even came - let's give them crowd photos to haunt their dreams and keep them out.
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 10:53 pm
Some days we can see Venus in mid-afternoon. Then at night, stars
separated by billions of miles, light travelling years

to die in the back of an eye.

Is there a vocabulary for this—one to make dailiness amplify
and not diminish wonder?

I have been so careless with the words I already have.

I don’t remember how to say home
in my first language, or lonely, or light.

I remember only
delam barat tang shodeh, I miss you,

and shab bekheir, goodnight.

How is school going, Kaveh-joon?
Delam barat tang shodeh.

Are you still drinking?
Shab bekheir.

For so long every step I’ve taken
has been from one tongue to another.

To order the world:
I need, you need, he/she/it needs.

The rest, left to a hungry jackal
in the back of my brain.

Right now our moon looks like a pale cabbage rose.
Delam barat tang shodeh.

We are forever folding into the night.
Shab bekheir.